Supporters of the plans for two new superstores and a new community sports stadium on the outskirts of the city, at Monks Cross, say they will create a 1,000 new jobs and create a permanent home for York City Football Club.
But opponents, including many existing traders inside the historic heart of York, say it could sound the death-knell for many small independent shops and drain the life-blood from the city centre.
York Council planning councillors have to weigh the arguments. But council officials, who usually make a recommendation to either approve or refuse a planning application, have left councillors to make up their own minds, leading some to accuse them of sitting on the fence.
If the development is approved, a John Lewis store and a new Marks & Spencer store would be built at Monks Cross. The shops scheme would help to pay for a new 6,000 seater community stadium which would house both the city's football club and the York City Knights rugby league club.
York City won the FA Trophy last weekend and are back at Wembley this weekend in the Conference play-off finals, hoping for promotion to the Football League - for the first time in eight years.
Club officials say a new stadium is vital for the club's continued survival because the existing ground at Bootham Crescent is now run-down.
But city council highways experts have warned that there could be major traffic problems at the new site. An official council report has described the transport strategy of the scheme as "potentially weak and fraught with a lack of detail."